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Beer Styles

German-Style Helles

A beer for beer lovers, the German-style helles is a malt accented lager beer that balances a pleasant malt sweetness and body with floral Noble hops and restrained bitterness. The helles is a masterclass in restraint, subtly and drinkability which makes it an enduring style for true beer lovers and an elusive style for craft brewers to recreate. The German helles reminds beer lovers that the simple things in life are usually the most rewarding and worth pursuing.

German-Style Helles

“Helles” means “pale in color,” as these beers are often golden. The German-style helles lager is a bit rounder or fuller-bodied than light lager and even all-malt pilsners. Helles lager beers offer a touch of sweetness that balance a measurable addition of spicy German hop flavor and light bitterness. The malt character is soft and bready, making it a terrific complement to light dishes such as salad or fresh shellfish, like clams. Clean and crisp, this is a refreshing beer with substance. Low levels of yeast-produced sulfur aromas and flavors may be common.

A Classic German Beer

While the German helles is highly versatile for pairing with food, helles lager is designed for refreshment and makes for the ideal beer on a hot day. Today, small and independent craft brewers offer their own takes on this classic German beer, many following the German tradition exactly, including German malts, spicy German hops and expertly controlled fermentation, offering a balanced yet subtly sweet lager beer. Others have added their own American twist on the helles variety by adding American hops and making this lager beer available in aluminum cans so beer lovers can enjoy this style while out and about. If you have not had the pleasure of tasting and appreciating this beer brewed for beer lovers, do yourself a favor and seek out a brewery near you that offers the style as a taproom option. You won’t be sorry.

Helping You Find Your New Favorite German Helles

We’ve assembled an interactive “Find a Brewery” map to help you keep track of all of the breweries and brewpubs near you, and some of those craft breweries are likely making helles beer. By allowing the map to use your specific location, searching by state or searching for a specific brewery, we want to help you find your next favorite craft beer, which could be a helles beer.

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Food Pairings

  • Samosas
  • Colby
  • Baklava

Glassware & Serving Temperature

Flute
45-50 °F

Commercial Examples

Commercial Examples

Appearance

Color

Pale to Golden

Clarity

Clear to Brilliant

Carbonation (Visual)

Medium to Fast Rising Bubbles

Flavor/Aroma

Alcohol

Not Detectable to Mild

Hop

Hop aroma is not perceived to low. Hop flavor and bitterness are very low to low, deriving from European noble-type hops

Malt

Malt character is sometimes bread-like, yet always reminiscent of freshly and very lightly toasted malted barley

Esters

Not common to style

Phenols

Not common to style.

Sensations

Body

Moderate

Carbonation

Medium to High

Finish Length

Short to Medium

Attenuation

Medium - High

Ingredients

Hops

German Noble

Malt

Pilsner, Munich

Water

Varies

Yeast

Lager

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